Thursday, 2 June 2011

Lebanon says border closed military zone - refugees and supporters build for June 5th Naksa protests


Lebanon's The Daily Star
The Lebanese Army Thursday declared the area along the border with Israel a closed military zone in a bid to prevent protesters from reaching the frontier on Naksa Day, security sources said.

“The Lebanese Army declared the area adjacent to the border a closed military zone in anticipation of any developments that could take place on Naksa Day,” one source told The Daily Star.

“This means that the rally could be replaced by celebrations at the [former] Khiam detention center” to reduce the possibility of a faceoff with Israeli troops, the source added.

Khiam is about four kilometers from the Lebanon-Israel border.

Meanwhile, security measures were being increased on both sides of the border ahead of calls for a rally at Lebanon’s border with Israel Sunday. more

Fishing boat destroyed and man almost drowned in ongoing campaign of attacks by Israeli navy


RAFAH, (PIC)-- An Israeli gunboat attacked a Palestinian fishing boat off the Rafah coast, south of the Gaza Strip, on Wednesday evening, local sources said.

They added that the Palestinian fishing boat capsized and that a 20-year-old fisherman on board had almost drowned as a result.

The sources said that the 20-year-old fishermen Ahmed Abu Salima was saved by a number of other fishermen at sea.

Thanks to PIC

Also see feature in the UAE's English-language newspaper, The National on fishermen increasingly forced to turn to fish farming.

Thousands of settlers in victory march through occupied East Jerusalem


IMEMC - Marking the so-called “Jerusalem Day”, approximately 30.000 Zionists marched in occupied East Jerusalem on Wednesday “celebrating 44 years of occupation and annexation of the holy city”, and clashed with Arab citizens. The settlers were marking the so-called “reunification” of Jerusalem according to the Jewish calendar.

Thousands of extremists, wearing white and blue clothes, the colors of the Israeli flag, marched towards Sheikh Jarrah Palestinian neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem on their way to the Al Buraq Wall in the city, while thousands of soldiers and police officers were deployed in the area.

The settlers broke into the yards of the Al Aqsa mosque and clashed with local Palestinians, who gathered there to prevent them from breaking into the holy site. Local sources reported that clashes took place between the Arab residents of Sheikh Jarrah and the settlers who chanted “death to Arabs”, and other racist slogans calling for expelling all Arabs out of the city. more

Hamas and Fatah lawmakers detained in Nablus raids as Israel tries to destabilize unity deal


NABLUS (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces detained two members of the Palestinian Legislative Council from the Hamas and Fatah blocs overnight on Wednesday, following raids on their homes in Nablus and Tulkarem, official sources told Ma'an.

Fatah lawmaker Hussam Khader, a long-time proponent of reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, was taken from his home at 2 a.m., officials said.

Witnesses said 50 Israeli military jeeps had arrived in the Balata refugee camp, surrounded the home and searched its contents before taking Khader to an unknown location. more

Ban Ki-Moon's shame: 'Why is UN chief against Gaza aid convoys?' - Arab News


Blog by Stuart Littlewood at Arab News:
Why is UN chief against Gaza aid convoys?

So just what did the secretary-general of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, think he was doing last week when he attempted to scupper the latest humanitarian effort by sending a letter to governments around the Mediterranean calling on them to use their influence to discourage any more flotillas such as the one due to sail toward the end of June, which he says "carry the potential to escalate into violent conflict"?

There is, of course, nothing potentially violent about an unarmed mercy ship. There is everything potentially violent about an illegal naval blockade that the United Nations should have squelched long ago.

A press release from Ban’s office said that flotillas were not helpful in resolving the basic economic problems in Gaza, though the situation there remains unsustainable, and that assistance and goods destined to Gaza should be channeled through legitimate crossings and established channels. No, Mr Ban. What has been unhelpful in resolving the basic economic problems in Gaza is the yellow-bellied failure of the UN to discharge its duty to implement its own resolutions and enforce humanitarian law. The secretary-general ought to remind himself of Security Council Resolution 1860 (2009), which emphasizes "the need to ensure sustained and regular flow of goods and people through the Gaza crossings" and calls for "the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance, including of food, fuel and medical treatment."

“Unimpeded”, Mr Ban, as in unimpeded. Do we need to buy a megaphone? So what is this talk about using "legitimate crossings and established channels"? Everyone knows that those channels, operated by the criminal blockader itself, are designed to impede the flow of everything and everyone to and from Gaza.It's bad enough that US President Barack Obama is busy rewriting international law, circumventing inconvenient UN resolutions and trying to give his Zionist friends the green light to keep the Palestinian lands and resources they have already stolen and create opportunities for them to grab more. But who are you working for, Mr. Ban Ki-moon? Why aren't you, as secretary-general, exhorting member states around the Mediterranean to do their duty under the UN Charter and ensure that the aid gets through to Gaza direct?

I hear that back home in Korea Ban’s nickname is "Ban-chusa”, tagging him as a blasted pen-pusher. Some say he’s noted for his subservience. In other words, he’s a yes-man. As if we hadn't enough of them already.

If you cannot uphold international law or insist on compliance with the raft of UN resolutions requiring an end to Israeli occupation and a permanent halt to interference with the Palestinian territories, Mr. Ban, you bring the UN into disrepute. You should pack your bags and clear off back to Korea.

The secretary-general’s spokesman, Martin Nesirky, sings the same tune and says that Freedom Flotillas are useless. He urges the government of Israel to take further meaningful and far-reaching steps to end the closure of Gaza, within the framework of Security Council Resolution 1860, and emphasizes that the operation of legitimate crossings must be adequate to meet the needs of Gaza's civilian population. That’s real bright when everyone and his dog knows you can "urge" Israel all you like but the regime will take no notice until it is forced to...

...A letter two months ago to my Member of Parliament about the need to protect the next Gaza flotilla from unlawful interference has gone unanswered. What arrangements were being made, I wanted to know, to defend these civilians from the sort of murderous harassment on the high seas that caused worldwide uproar last year? The Mediterranean is full of NATO ships at the moment in the service of freedom and democracy, or so we’re told. It would not surprise me if the brass hats have agreed to steer well clear of the area where Israel does its marauding and leave the Zionist extremists free to terrorize and assault the unarmed crews and passengers of a brave little fleet of mercy ships. more

— Stuart Littlewood is a businessman-turned-writer. His book, Radio Free Palestine tells of the plight of the Palestinians under Israeli occupation. For details visit www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk

(Courtesy: Redress Information & Analysis)

Obama backs illegal blockade, warns Turkey over 'provocative' flotilla, echoing Israel's threat to board


No one has yet explained why peaceful activists delivering humanitarian aid to a beleagured people should be seen as 'provocative', while the killing of eight Turkish citizens and one US is seen by the sttae department as 'self defence'?
The Obama administration has warned Turkey against its planned flotilla to Gaza. In a press briefing yesterday, State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said that a planned flotilla would be irresponsible and provocative.

"We’ve raised our concerns with the Turkish government as well, and we’ve also met and said publicly as well as privately, meeting with some of these NGOs, about the risk of attempting to break this blockade," said Toner.

"We have made clear through the past year that groups and individuals who seek to break Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza are taking irresponsible and provocative actions that entail a risk to their safety. I think I’ve talked about this specifically." more